If you're on Universal Credit, the government's new Way to Work Scheme might have you feeling like you have to accept the first job that comes along. Job hunting can be tricky enough, without the added pressure to find a job in four weeks or face a reduction in benefits.
This is a big change from the 3 months job seekers previously had. The change aims to get half a million benefits claimants into some of the 1.2 million vacancies by the end of June. To help, the government is offering work coaches to job seekers, giving ‘tailored, individual support’ to find a job.
Anything that can be done to encourage people into work is a positive. There's also no question that we're facing a record number of job vacancies needing to be filled. But there are also some concerns that it could ultimately be bad news for many candidates.
Workplace experts have pointed out that people will feel under pressure to take a job they may be overqualified for. That's because after the 4 weeks, if you haven't made ‘reasonable efforts’ to find a job, or if you turn down a job offer, you’ll face having part of your Universal Credit payment withdrawn.
So, the worry is, you may agree to a role that isn’t right for you. And maybe you won't be able to stay the distance. It could also harm your CV when you apply for a role in your chosen field in the future. In addition, the British Psychological Society have described the changes as ‘deeply concerning’. They fear that there could be ‘serious negative consequences on claimants’ mental health.
If your skills are transferrable across sectors, chances are you'll find something entirely appropriate. But if your sector is no longer viable, or you're feeling under pressure, here are some options to consider:
At HR GO, we work with many clients who are looking for temporary workers to fill gaps in their workforce or because of seasonal demand.
Temping can be flexible enough to fit with even the most complicated lifestyle. It also gives you an opportunity to try a new role or area before you commit. And it's a good way to boost an otherwise skinny CV, and make some valuable contacts who can help you move to a permanent position.
This option is especially helpful if your experience and skills are tied to a sector that is not currently hiring. Because chances are, you'll need to gain some new skills to help you find a career in a thriving sector.
We know that sometimes short-term contracts can also be ideal for what you’re looking for. This is especially if a permanent position in your chosen career is not currently available. And we’d far rather see people being encouraged into jobs that match their skills and work history for the long term, rather than a lower-paid, lower-status role just because they feel they have no other choice.
So what should you do if you’re on Universal Credit and worried what this new Way to Work scheme means for your career?
Your smartest move by far is to register with a recruitment agency like HR GO. We work hard to find the best possible placements fast for our candidates and it costs you absolutely nothing. We're also here to give you guidance on how to transition into new sectors when needed. We can also advise you when to consider new career options or get new training. This is the work we do day in and day out, so we know all of the best options.
We’re experts at finding candidates positions that match their qualifications, skills and work experience, in sectors including:
Our specialist resources mean we can do this quickly. We work with hundreds of businesses who often need us to move promptly to fill their vacancies. Our experts keep in touch with candidates throughout the whole process. So, you’re never left wondering what’s happened to your application, or whether you’re through to the next stage.
Taking any job just because you feel backed into a corner isn't the best idea. Our advice is to use all the tools at your disposal to find a role that’s a decent fit for you.